WRVA ‘Vision is Elementary’ Campaign 2020

Throughout the week of September 14th through September 18th, WRVA 1140AM personalities John Reid and Jeff Katz included several special guests on their programs to discuss the role that Conexus has in bringing healthy vision to children across the Commonwealth. Guests also discussed the importance of Blink 20 and the signs of digital eye strain.

The guests included:

Jeff Baldwin, Communications Director for Conexus (Listen to the segment HERE)

Tim Gresham, CEO for Conexus (Listen to the segments HERE and HERE)

Dr. Gerald Neidigh, Optometrist and Conexus Board Member (Listen to the segment HERE)

Andrea Booker, Optician for Conexus (Listen to the segment HERE)

WRIC Features Conexus Blink 20

Virtual learning in 2020 has become something that students of all ages have had to adjust to because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Technology allows us the ability to learn in front of a screen, but have you ever thought about what the increased time staring at a computer could be doing to students’ eyes?

“The biggest thing is our world’s are changing – everything’s getting closer,” said Dr. Kurt Jung of Colonial River Eye Care. “Add virtual learning to the mix and now our eyes work differently. So kids that would have never had issues in the past, all of a sudden now you increase their visual demand.”

This is why Dr. Jung says it’s very important to get your eyes checked. So does Andrea Booker, optician at the non-profit organization Conexus.

Watch the story HERE.

New Board Member

At its most recent Board of Directors meeting, Conexus unanimously elected Gerald Neidigh, OD, to a three-year term.

Dr. Neidigh, president of Grove Eye Care with offices in Richmond and Midlothian, graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1994 with a degree in Natural Science. Neidigh went on to receive a degree in Visual Science in 1996 and a Doctor of Optometry degree from Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1998.

Dr. Neidigh is a past president of the Richmond Optometric Society and the Virginia Optometric Association. He was the 2004 recipient of the Virginia Optometric Association’s Young Optometrist of the Year award and was recently recognized as the 2015 Optometrist of the Year. He is currently Chair of the American Optometric Association Industry Relations Committee, Chair of the Virginia Optometric Association Industry Relations Committee, Legislative Chair of the Virginia Optometric Association, and a Trustee with Virginia Optometric Association.

Dr. Neidigh’s areas of focus include specialty contact lenses, dry eye therapy, and ocular disease.

Conexus Distributes Glasses

Our team was so excited to get back to what we do best, bring healthy vision to students across our region.

In mid-June, with COVID-19 precautions in place, we distributed glasses to children at Salem Church Middle School, Bon Air Elementary, Crestwood Elementary, Falling Creek Middle School, and Providence Road Elementary.

With the incredible support and assistance of the staff at Chesterfield County Public Schools and CIS-Chesterfield, we have ensured that poor vision will no longer be a barrier to these children.

And although we were masked and so were the kids, these face coverings could not hide all the smiles.

For these children, so much around them has changed, and their ability to see the world clearly will no doubt impact their lives!

​We are excited to schedule dispensing days with Petersburg City Schools and Richmond City Schools to deliver the rest of their glasses as well over the coming weeks.

Student Donates to Conexus

Thousands of children struggle with poor vision, making things like learning in school and playing sports difficult. Eva Viele, a 9-year-old from Woolridge Elementary, chose to donate to her new favorite charity, Conexus, this holiday season.

“For the holidays, each member of my family was going to donate to a charity that meant something to them,” Eva said. “I figured this is a very great charity, and a little money can go a long way.”

Eva, who got her glasses in 1st grade, was initially shocked when she found out that so many other kids her age had poor vision.

Click HERE for the entire story.

Conexus Provides Gift of Sight

Wednesday is a day that Conexus optician Fatim looks forward to each week. It’s a day known as ‘Glasses Distribution Day.’

For the past couple of weeks, children at area schools have been screened for eye problems, had their eyes tested and then picked out new glasses — some for the first time.

“So, this is basically everything that we do, this is what it falls down too,” Fatim said. “This is the exciting part.”

8News recently visited Ettrick Elementary school and got to see students getting their brand new glasses, many of them elated to see clearly for the first time.

“The second that they put the glasses on, it is like the whole world opens up to them,” Ashley Hall, Executive Director of Communities in Schools for Chesterfield County, explained.

Click HERE for the entire story.

Kids See Tacky Lights Clearly For The First Time

Conexus, a local non-profit organization that provides free glasses and eye exams to children in need, has focused on giving the gift of sight this holiday season.
Children helped through Conexus’s Gift of Light program got the chance to put their new frames to the test on Tuesday while checking out the Tacky Light tour in Glen Allen.

8News joined in on the fun to see the children’s priceless reactions when they got a chance to look at the lights, some for the first time with 20-20 vision and others for the very first time.

​“They struggle in the classroom because they can’t see, but they struggle in life because they can’t see,” Jeff Baldwin, who is with Conexus, said. “So, to provide them with a brand new pair of glasses with a prescription just for them, is a beautiful thing.”

Click HERE for the entire story.

Conexus Delivers Free Exams

“It is very important for students to learn, to learn how to read, to learn how to concentrate. You can’t learn to read if you can’t see,” Sandra Griffin, a staff nurse with Richmond Public Schools, said. “You can’t learn to read if your eyes are tired and you have a headache.”
G.H. Reid Elementary school is one of the many schools that Conexus is working with this year.
“We have 710 students at this school, and so we screened 500 this year and 30% of those students have to be seen by a physician for their vision,” Griffin explained. “That is a significant number of kids.”

When the children step into Conexus’ mobile clinic, it’s just like stepping foot into an eye doctor’s office with all the same state-of-the-art equipment. While inside, the students are tested for a variety of concerns.

Click HERE for the entire story.

Mobile Clinic Brings Healthy Vision

“About one-third of the kids sitting in a classroom are unable to see well, and 80% of what a child learns in a classroom is through their eyes,” Tim Gresham, CEO, explained. “So, if a child is sitting in the classroom, not seeing as well as they should then they are not going to be as successful as they could be.”

Studies have shown that children who might not be able to see clearly could act out in class, disrupt others or become disengaged from the learning process.

​Conexus works hand-in-hand with local schools to pre-screen student’s vision, and those that fail will then go through a routine eye exam, just like they were sitting in an optometrist’s office.  But in this case, the office comes to the school.

Click HERE for the entire story.